Reviewing and Verifying I-9 Documents

Your Role as an I-9 Administrator

The University of Minnesota requires all newly hired students, staff, and faculty members, on or before their first day of work for pay, to complete the federal I-9 form and provide the required documentation showing they are eligible to work at the University. If the new hire doesn't provide these documents, they may not be allowed to start work or remain in the workplace until they have the documents and are able to complete the form.

To complete Section 2 of the Form I-9, University I-9 administrators must verify a new hire's I-9 documentation. The employer or its representative must personally review original documents only, either in person or by virtual I-9 verification (see below).

Original Documents

Photocopies (including fax copies) or numbers representing original documents are not acceptable. The only exceptionto the photocopy rule is a certified copy of a birth certificate.

The standard used to determine the genuineness of the documents for the I-9 process is reasonableness: The document must reasonably appear genuine on its face and relate to the person presenting it. Employers can reject documents that don't appear appropriate or genuine. Faculty, staff, and student workers who present questionable documentation should be asked for other documents to satisfy the I-9 requirements.

Virtual I-9 Verification

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has given eVerify employers (of which the University is one) another option for verifying employment eligibility besides in-person inspection. Employers can use an alternative procedure called "permanent virtual verification."

With this new flexibility, employers will be required to:

  • Examine remotely the front and back of their employees' identity and employment authorization documentation, or an acceptable receipt, to determine that the documentation reasonably appears genuine
  • Conduct a live interaction with the employee presenting the same documentation to ensure that it reasonably appears genuine and relates to the employee
  • Indicate on Form I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for reverification
  • Retain clear and legible copies (front and back) of all documents presented by employees
  • Make available legible copies of an employee's documentation in the event of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement I-9 audit or federal government agency investigation

Before beginning to use the new virtual procedure, units should email with the names and email addresses of up to three employees who will manage your unit's I-9 documentation folder in Box Secure Storage, the University's central repository for this documentation.

I-9 administrators should also watch the recording of the I-9 Compliance Forum and the accompanying slide deck, available on the I-9 page of the OHR Operations website.

Document Choice

A faculty, staff, or student worker can choose to provide a "List A" document to show identity and employment authorization, or a "List B" document to show identity and a "List C" document to show employment eligibility. The documents cannot be expired. See the Employer Quick Reference Guide: Completing an Electronic I-9 With a New Hire (pdf) for a list of document choices.

International students, scholars, and visitors have different document requirements. See I-9 Process for Foreign National Faculty, Staff and Student Workers for more information on the document choices that fulfill I-9 requirements for foreign national employees.

Copying Documentation

Although I-9 regulations allow employers to scan or make copies of the documents presented to show I-9 compliance, the University of Minnesota does not require copies of I-9 documentation for the online I-9 process.

Social Security Card Issues and Restrictions

The Social Security Administration issues Social Security numbers and cards to foreign national employees only if they can present documentation of current employment authorization in the U.S. Lawful permanent residents, refugees, and asylees are issued unrestricted Social Security cards that are the same as those issued to U.S. citizens.

Some Social Security cards have restrictions on them and do not satisfy the I-9 requirements. If that is the case, the faculty, staff, or student worker must show other documents to comply with the requirements. See  I-9 Employee Eligibility Verification for more information on other documents that fulfill I-9 requirements for foreign nationals.

The employer must complete Section 2 of the I-9 by the end of the faculty, staff, or student worker's first day of work for pay. The following information must be recorded on the form:

  • Document title
  • Issuing authority
  • Document number
  • Expiration date (if any)
  • first day of work for pay

Verification: Signature and Date

The person who reviews the original documents must sign and date the I-9 form, whether that person is the employer or its agent (see Remote Employee I-9 Process Overview). The employer (or agent) is not attesting to the legitimacy of the person's status, but rather that the documents presented appear to be genuine and relate to the person presenting them.

Documents No Longer Accepted

The following documents have been removed from the list of acceptable identity and work authorization documents and can no longer be used:

  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship ("List A")
  • Certificate of Naturalization ("List A")
  • Unexpired Reentry Permit ("List A")
  • Unexpired Refugee Travel Document ("List A")
  • Form I-151 has been withdrawn from circulation and is no longer an acceptable "List A" document. However, Form I-551 remains an acceptable "List A" document.

Note: Expired documents, such as an expired U.S. passport, are no longer acceptable. However, certain employment authorization cards may appear expired but have actually been extended under limited circumstances by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Two such forms are the I-766 and I-551.

Receipt Rule

If an original document has been lost, stolen, or damaged, a receipt showing the employee has applied for a replacement document can be accepted. The person must show the original replacement document within 90 days of hire.

For details on when receipts can be accepted for certain documents, see this page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.